Thursday, July 19th
Thursday is the day of the mission trip when you realize FOR SURE that you are not going to be able to finish everything you wanted to. It's sometimes a depressing day. We started the day with a big hole in the floor that needed to be filled with 3 layers of material cut in 3 different sizes, with no true right angles. This sort of thing takes patience. Once the hole was covered, the entire floor needed to be covered in backer board (a thin layer of concrete-like flooring). Before that could be done, areas of the floor with large gaps or uneven spots needed to be treated with self-leveling compound. At one point I suggested that a 50-gallon drum of the stuff would be helpful. Lynn suggested that it might not be enough.
While Ryan and Lynn fussed with floorboards and Morgan, Sabrina and Ezra fitted trim, Jackson and I went outside to organize tools, and to sort through the bin that each team gets as part of our standard equipment. It holds a couple of extra hammers and screwdrivers, nail aprons, gloves, a spare reusable water bottle or two, wasp spray, Clorox wipes, zipper bags and other miscellaneous useful stuff. Our goal was to inventory, make a replacement list and list things that we had wished we had that might be useful for next year. We were sitting under our group's pop-up shelter to do this.
We were pretty focused on the task at hand, when suddenly we heard our homeowner shouting at us. Turning, we saw him running toward the house hollering something about a tornado. At this same instant, the sky turned black and we got hit HARD by a sudden wind. "We have to get the shelter down!" I yelled a Jackson. We both grabbed the sides of the shelter to collapse it just as the wind gusted underneath it. There was a moment when we could easily have become airborne and joined the Flying Monkeys that I'm SURE had to have been around somewhere. A strut snapped, the structure more or less collapsed, and we ran for it.
Now, remember - this house has NO foundation. It's merely sitting on the side of a rather steep hill, and we have the inside scoop on just how unstable it might be. There is absolutely nowhere in this building that might offer adequate shelter in a severe storm, not even the bathtub. Trust me. The kids are coming out of the house to try and collect stuff from the backyard. I herd them back in and order them to stay inside just as the heavens open and drop all the water the entire Midwest has been praying for directly on the house. I go to the front of the house and our homeowner is calmly sitting on the front porch.
"Moody, don't you think you 'd be safer inside?" He told me of the one time there had been a tornado in the 'holler' below us. He and his wife had sat on that same porch and watched as it traveled down the valley. He said that that was the only other storm he'd ever seen that started at the speed and force this one did. I decided to go back inside, and had a Dorothy Moment when I was almost unable to open the front door against the wind.
We decide to keep working inside, and actually end up staying an extra hour until the rain ends. The backer board is almost all down, but there's still some to fit in the odd spots, and then we still have to tile. We are out of smaller jobs for the younger hands, so we'll be asking tonight if we can start some of next weeks' work.
Back at the center it was Culture Night, and we heard an excellent singer and teller of folk stories. Our church went to Dairy Queen (twenty twisty miles away), and our team came back to do our chore of the day - sweeping and mopping the main hallway, and grounds pick up. (All the teams do chores, every day - dishes, bathroom or shower cleanup, etc. It allows the center to operate more cheaply so more money goes to home repair.)
My journal for the day lists only a bunch of two-word phrases - just enough to jog my memory for this post. The only phrase I had trouble working in was "mouse poop."